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Old 10-21-2008, 09:38 PM   #1
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Wainscoting?


I'm getting ready to install wainscoting in a first floor powder room. I wanted to use traditional wood wainscoting, mainly because I'm a traditionalist, but all my local home improvement stores sell is either knotty pine wood wainscoting or primed MDF.

Since I'm painting this white and prefer a smooth finish, is MDF okay? Also, what's the best way to install MDF wainscoting over drywall?

Thanks,
Kelly

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Old 10-21-2008, 10:13 PM   #2
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Wainscoting?


MDF is perfect for painted work. No grain to show through.

When I'm doing a room that I know will have wainscoting I always try to install a couple rows of blocking behind the sheetrock, or even install 1/2" plywood on the wall behind the wainscot instead of sheetrock. You can't really nail it into the sheetrock and expect it to be a good installation, so it helps to have some wood in there. You might consider removing enough of your wallboard to install plywood in its place to facilitate nailing the wainscot.

There are some pretty good construction adhesives available that you could use to glue it on instead of nailing. I'm not a fan of that because your bond is only as strong as the paint on the wall and the trim.

You might consider adding penetrol or floetrol to your paint to help hide brush strokes. Floetrol is for latex, penetrol for oil. They make the paint a little more viscous and the brush strokes will lay down better.

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Old 10-21-2008, 10:22 PM   #3
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Wainscoting?


I'm planning on using real wood top and bottom trim, so wouldn't that help hold the MDF in place.
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Old 10-21-2008, 11:20 PM   #4
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Wainscoting?


Yes, but I'm a fan of nailing it, not just capture it in moldings.
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Old 10-22-2008, 10:56 AM   #5
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Wainscoting?


I am not a fan of MDF in a humid environment Just my humble opinion
In my shop MDF not allowed LOL LOL You can buy real wainscotting in most true lumberyards.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:02 PM   #6
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Wainscoting?


I'm with skymaster on the MDF, but some of us are just plain anal about our work...
You can use it successfully for this purpose so long as you don't hang it raw. Seal front, back, and ALL edges before you hang and paint it and you should be fine. I even do that with real wood in damp locations. Makes me feel much more comfortable that I won't be re-doing it later because I installed a sponge on the wall I usually use shellac or shellac-based sealer/primer, just 'cause I always have that on hand.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:59 PM   #7
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Wainscoting?


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
MDF is perfect for painted work. No grain to show through.

You might consider removing enough of your wallboard to install plywood in its place to facilitate nailing the wainscot.
Okay, I decided to take your advice and do it right. I removed the drywall and will be installing a plywood backer tomorrow. BTW, my wife thinks I'm completely nuts! :-)

Should I use a brad nailer to attach the MDF wainscoting to the plywood? I guess I'll have to turn the pressure way down on the nail gun since I'm nailing through basically paper. Is there anything else I should do? Thanks for your help.
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:54 AM   #8
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Wainscoting?


Prime that plywood just for good measure. You mentioned that your wainscot is primed...All sides, right? If not, do it.

I'd use a brad nailer, and yes, attach it to the plywood. I don't think you'll need to turn the pressure down as much as you think. Some construction adhesive would ensure that it stays put as well, and might help minimize nail holes.

I use bondo car body filler to fill my nail holes on MDF. Caulk dimples and doesn't look good after painting. Exterior spackle might work ok.
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:58 AM   #9
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Wainscoting?


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Prime that plywood just for good measure. You mentioned that your wainscot is primed...All sides, right?
The wainscoting is only primed on the front side. Should I prime all sides of the plywood too, or just the front? Also, I'm thinking about screwing the plywood into the studs instead of nailing it. Is that what you'd do?
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:27 PM   #10
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Wainscoting?


Screw the plywood to the studs.

Yes, you definately need to backprime the MDF. Anywhere else in the house it wouldn't be absolutely necessary, but with the humid conditions that exist in a bathroom backpriming is a good practice.
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Old 10-24-2008, 04:53 PM   #11
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Wainscoting?


In addition to screws, should I use Liquid Nails to help secure the plywood to the framing studs?
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Old 10-24-2008, 06:27 PM   #12
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Wainscoting?


wood knot hurt tho not really needed.

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